TORONTO – Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa unveiled the Liberals’ 2014 budget Thursday. Here is a list of winners and losers:
Business companies — A new 10-year, $2.5-billion fund will offer grants to business companies investing in Ontario and creating jobs.
Construction companies & Commuters — $29 billion over 10 years would be spent for public transit, roads, bridges and infrastructure — $15 billion for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and about $14 billion for the rest of the province.
Patients — $11.4 billion over 10 years would go towards hospital expansion and redevelopment projects.An additional $700 million would be spent over the next 10 years to help hospitals pay for repairs.
Students — $11 billion over 10 years would be used to build new elementary and secondary schools in densely populated areas such as Brampton, Milton and Ancaster. The Liberals would also spend $32 million to expand school breakfast and lunch programs.
Low-income workers — Minimum wage would increase to $11 an hour and the Liberals would introduce legislation to index it to inflation. The government would also raise the income eligibility threshold for legal aid services to allow an additional one million low-income Ontarians to be able to find a lawyer. Also, it would increase the maximum annual Ontario Child Benefit per child to $1,310.
Higher-income earners — People with annual taxable income between $150,000 and $220,000 would pay $450 more in provincial income tax as the rate would go up one percentage point to 12.16 per cent. Those earning above $220,000 would pay $5,500 more.
Airlines — The tax on aviation fuel would go up by four cents per litre over four years, with subsequent one cent per litre increases in each of the next three years.
Smokers — The tobacco tax rate would go up to 13.97 per cent from the current rate of 12.35 per cent, or $3.25 on a carton of 200, but the tax rate on cigars would remain unchanged at 56.6 per cent.
Public sector workers — The government would introduce austerity measures to clamp down on public service retiree benefits and pensions saving hundreds of millions of dollars while bringing them in line with those in the private sector.
Smaller businesses — Companies that don’t offer workplace pension plans to their employees will eventually have to contribute towards the new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.